Thursday, 19 June 2014 00:14
New Human Resource Policy and Master Plan for public sector coming – Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara
IPM Conference 2014 kicks off at the BMICH
Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera yesterday revealed that a new Human Resource Policy and Master Plan for the public sector will soon be submitted to Parliament for approval to boost productivity and economic growth.
“I received the approval of the Cabinet for my Human Resources Policy for the country, together with my Master Plan. I shall shortly present it to Parliament, seeking a fruitful debate,” said Senior Minister for Human Resources and Chairman of Parliamentary Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) Gunasekara, addressing the inauguration of the National HR Conference at the BMICH yesterday.
He said the policy would embrace over 10 key ministries, including education, higher education, vocational training, foreign employment, labour, productivity, public administration and science and technology as well as other relevant ministries under one roof in the preparation of this policy.
The coordinating unit in the Senior Minister’s Secretariat will steer and monitor the implementation policies of each of these ministries to fall in line with the national policy of HRM.
Human resources overlooked
According to the Senior Minister, thus far the focus has been on the development of natural and physical resources in the country while its human resource has been often overlooked.
“Today we have an overall picture for potential human resources in the national economy, we have been focusing on our natural resources and physical resources, regardless of the most important factor of production, productivity, which is human resources,” the Minister said at the inauguration of the largest HR event in South Asia.
The IPM Conference will hold technical sessions today on ‘Redefining HR for Boosting Performance,’ where renowned keynote speakers from Australia, UK, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are set to contribute their diverse perspectives. In addition, two panel discussions will be held to discuss topics relating to this year’s theme.
Senior Minister Gunasekara also revealed that he was in the process of formulating another policy to address the needs of State sector enterprises to make them more profitable. With this innovation and restructuring, the Minister predicted increasing demand for HR professionals in the public sector.
HR at the Central Bank
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral in his keynote speech said: “HR is not my core subject, but at the same time that I reflected, I realised that I also do a lot of HR at the Central Bank.”
He listed various HR practices that were implemented at the Central Bank such at activity-based costing, which kept track of over 150 different activities they conducted.
“In a way I also have a role which is somewhat akin to what HR managers do, but in a slightly different context in order to be able to get the best efforts of all these people to be able to fulfil the mission of the Central Bank as well as to steer the economy of the country.”
The Governor also pointed out the importance of understanding the landscape in which HR will be implemented in the future, stating that “we are seeing the future coming into the present”. He added this was why organisations should be aware of the rapid changes in the economy, lifestyle and the way people do business, which have been taking place over the past few years.
Stressing on the changes in the financial sector, the Governor emphasised that global standards also need to be recognised and implemented. “No longer are we able to say that we are a national organisation only. All our practices have to be at a global level.”
He then went on to discuss strategic planning, productivity, innovation, motivating and empowering people and keeping pace with rapidly-changing subject matter as some of the areas a HR manager should focus on in order to seamlessly integrate into this future that is unfolding within our present.
Developing HR in the region
The inauguration was also marked with significant events such as the signing of an MOU with the objective of forming the South Asian Association of Human Resources in cooperation with HR institutes in India and Bangladesh to develop the practices of HR in the region.
IPM also presented Governor Cabraal with the first copy of ‘HRM Perspectives,’ a new journal that will include research articles from academics in the profession.
IPM President Samitha Perera stated the aim of today’s technical discussions will be to develop competitive industries at national and micro levels. He added that these discussions would be beneficial to those in attendance because “customers cannot make your people happy, but people can make your customers happy”.
“Without the organisation’s success, there can be no success for stakeholders. The management of human capital can be challenging compared to other resources available to the organisation because it involves human feelings and emotions that can be the biggest challenge for managers,” he added.
Recent global and local studies suggest that companies perceive the HR function to be non-essential or ineffective in demonstrating its value to the business. Studies also suggest that the competencies that served HR well in the past will not be enough to propel it into the future.
The conference will continue today with two panel discussions and speeches by four keynote speakers, covering a wide range of HR-related topics. The panels will discuss themes such as ‘Beyond the Role of HR’ to be moderated by Kent Ridge Ltd. HR Services Director Janaka Kumarasinghe.
A second panel discussion moderated by PIM USJ Senior Faculty Member/Management Consultant Dr. Ajantha Dharmasiri will focus on ‘Redefining HR, Promises and Pitfalls’.
Keeping with the theme of the conference which was ‘Redefining HR for Boosting Performance,’ the Associate Professor of Business Management at the QUT business school, Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Paul Davidson will speak on ‘The Evolving Role of HR: Aligning HR with a Changing Business Landscape.’
An International Coach Federation (ICF) professional certified coach, Dr. Michael Heah from Malaysia will speak on ‘Nurturing Leaders through Coaching and Mentoring,’ while Consultant and Master Trainer in Human Potential Development Dr. Asoka Jinadasa will speak of ‘A New HR Paradigm for Architecting Winning Organisations’ and Lloyds Banking Group UK HR Director Culture Justin Grice will speak on ‘Leveraging the Power of Culture to Transfer Challenges into Opportunities’.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara